The man who sparked international pandemonium and ridicule with his May 21, 2011 rapture prophesy has been hospitalized after he suffered a stroke at his home.
Harold Camping, age 89, was taken by ambulance from his Alameda home on Thursday night. According to his neighbor, Camping’s wife Shirley was very distraught as her husband was rushed away. The neighbor says Camping’s speech is now slurred, but beyond that he seems ok.
Charles Menut — the regional manager for Family Stations Inc. posted a message in a Yahoo group stating:
Please just pray for him and do not try to contact anyone at his home or Family Radio. He and Shirley have enough family members to handle the situation. I’m sure we’ll be able to publicly update everyone on Monday.”
No word yet as to whether Camping will indeed take the mic for his Open Forum radio show tonight or at all this week. Certainly, his now famous gravelly voice will sound quite different post stroke, but something tells me he won’t miss the chance to get back on air if at all possible. He’s been steadily doing the show for 52 years. It is likely that it will take more than a stroke to stop him. Staff members say they will be playing pre-recorded programs by Camping until he is well enough to get back on the air.
Of course, in light of his failed doomsday and rapture prediction, and his unapologetic tone after the prediction proved false, has made the general public pretty unsympathetic to the plight of the Camping family. Comments on the Inside Bay Area website have ranged from “serves him right” to “I wish he would have died”.
As for me, regardless of what the man has done, a stroke is no laughing matter. And if we are put off by Camping’s cold and callus attitude toward his disillusioned followers after May 21, then we accomplish nothing by being cruel toward him. It is easy in times like this to wish ill upon those who have done wrong. What is difficult is compassion. Taking the high ground is rarely easy.
I was very troubled and VERY critical of Harold Camping throughout the ordeal of his prophesied End Times and the resultant revised doom-date of October 21, 2011. But I will wish him well, and hope for peace for his wife Shirley who is surely suffering as much as her husband. For his children and his loved ones, I hope he has a successful recovery.